Sick Days

Know what I loved about today?  This morning after breakfast, I cleared the dining room table with my husband and loaded the dishwasher. “What time do you need to leave this morning?” I asked.

“Around 10,” he replied.

Henry came in and tugged on my pantleg, “ILK? ILK?!”

“No, buddy, you already had two cups.”

“OHHHHHH, Nooooooooooo!” Henry slow-melted to the floor.

Lydia and Elvis watched cartoons in the living room until Elvis needed to go to school, and Brandon drove him to Park Street.  When he came back, I was still working on dishes in the kitchen, hair pulled back in a pony tail, still in pajamas.  We small-talked through work-related issues, our schedule for babysitting the next few days, whether to take Lydia to the doctor for whatever cold she woke up with, and what I planned to make for dinner.  After a while, Brandon took a shower and I started a load of laundry.

Brandon left around 10 as planned.  Lydia and I played rummy in between loads of laundry while Henry watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  We picked Elvis up from pre-school and went to our pastor’s house for a lunch meeting.  Lydia and Elvis watched a movie all afternoon while I made chicken soup and changed loads of laundry, never ending laundry.  When Henry woke up we went down into the basement and I watched Elvis and Henry play cars together while Lydia colored and I (wait for it) folded more laundry and read books for class.  Eventually we ate dinner, Elvis and Hank took baths, and the kids went to bed.  I’m writing this all now after indulging in an ice cream AND chocolate AND peanut butter sundae (so much for the Whole 30) and in the midst of loading the dishwasher and preparing to fold yet another load of laundry, occasionally checking Words with Friends for new games and my online discussion boards for new posts about my class.

I loved all of this.  I love that I didn’t shower today (sorry, general public), that I spent the day with my sick daughter and toddler doing house-y stuff while also thinking about writing, reading essays, and watching my children be children.  I was present, if not always fully engaged.  I was home.

It ebbs and flows, this conflict between my desire to work full-time, which satisfies a drive to accomplish something and to contribute to a larger cause using the gifts and talents given to me, and the desire to quit and have days like this always, to simply be here when I’m needed instead of feeling torn between responsibilities of work and my sniffly daughter and traveling husband, and also the desire to sit down and write or read for class, which I am LOVING, by the way.  I have always enjoyed being a student, and being in the classroom again (albeit online) is a delight and feels a little indulgent, honestly.

If I could have the best of both worlds, I’d work 8:30-3 every day with a half-hour lunch, with the flexibility to work from home when necessary, and take a few weeks off each summer when my husband is also off.  I’d do exactly the same job or a slight variation of it, with the same enthusiasm and passion and excitement I have for my job now, with the added plus of not coordinating childcare every time my husband travels for work, simply doing the job from home that day.

Would that be so awful?  I’d be so less stressed all of the time!  Who invented the 40 hour work week anyway?  And wouldn’t it be GREAT to have a relaxed morning, enough time to get the kids fed healthy breakfasts and carted off to school, maybe even (gasp) exercise or (whaaat?!) read through a devotional or passage of Scripture before the day gets rolling?

Enough whining.  I still love my job, in spite of its occasional burps and hiccups.  I’d just like a little more of my kids and a little less of my work.  That’s all.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

One thought on “Sick Days

  1. I didn't shower today either. I also didn't mind too much, either.

    Loved this post. So much of what you wrote (probably all of it) is what knocks around in my head most days.


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